#CEP2019 Recap: Day 3

Sarah Martin

Almost as quickly as it began, the 2019 CEP Conference has come to a close. From a highly interactive opening plenary about the role of money and markets in a just society with political philosopher Michael Sandel to a gripping and insightful conversation about philanthropy and systemic injustice with Anand Giridharadas and Jeff Raikes, Stronger Philanthropy was rife with thought-provoking data, insightful conversations, and bold discussion of the issues at the forefront of the philanthropic sector. Thank you to all the speakers, sponsors, hotel staff, attendees, and tweeters for making it a memorable three days in the Twin Cities.

Through tweets from attendees, here is a sampling of the insights and conversations from the final day of the conference:

The third and final day began with a powerful presentation of sobering data on the American housing crisis by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and sociologist Matthew Desmond. Desmond was joined by Amanda Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness; Tecara Ayler, Luis Caguana, and Roberto de la Riva of Minneapolis-based tenants’ rights advocacy group Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters for Justice); and Susan Thomas, program director at Melville Charitable Trust. Activists Caguana (with interpretation from de la Riva, who is co-director of Inquilinx Unixs) and Ayler shared their personal stories about renter abuse and eviction in Minneapolis. The speakers pushed the audience to consider topics like the power dynamics between renter and landlord, the devastating consequences of — and stark inequity surrounding — homelessness and eviction, the meaning of home, and the ways that homelessness can limit human potential. Caguana and Ayler also offered a galvanizing look at what movement-building and determination from the grassroots can do to bring justice to this story in its next act.


Following this deeply moving and gripping panel discussion about eviction in America, attendees dispersed for the conference’s third and final series of breakout sessions. Topics covered included philanthropy with a racial equity lens, youth voice in philanthropy, inclusive problem-solving, governance, and funder partnerships, to name a few. Check out a few nuggets from the day’s breakout conversations:


After the breakout sessions, attendees reconvened for the highly anticipated plenary discussion with Anand Giridharadas, author of Winner Takes All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, and former Microsoft executive and co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, Jeff Raikes, moderated by Grace Nicolette, vice president of programming and external relations at CEP. A riveting conversation ensued, spanning critiques of mega philanthropy to the role of power and money in solving societal problems to the importance of humility in giving effectively and affecting systems change. It was a session that left many attendees, in the words of one, teetering on the edge of their seats.

After lunch, a panel with a fount of philanthropic knowledge and wisdom took the main stage to conclude the conference. Moderated by Kate Wolford, president of McKnight Foundation, and informed by CEP President Phil Buchanan’s new book Giving Done Right, five panelists representing a wide range of backgrounds and decades of combined philanthropic experience gathered together to debate the elements of effective philanthropy and the major challenges currently facing the philanthropic sector. With Wolford and Buchanan, Janine Lee (president and CEO of Southeastern Council of Foundations), Larry Kramer (president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), Jacqueline Martinez Garcel (CEO of the Latino Community Foundation), and Anthony Richardson (executive director of the Nord Family Foundation) shared candid stories from their experiences as leaders in the philanthropic sector. While it is nearly impossible to pull together a conversation spanning three days’ worth of programming in one session, the panel left attendees with important questions and insights to consider as they return to their respective organizations.

That’s a wrap on CEP 2019! There’s much to digest, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.

See you in Houston for #CEP2021!

For a recap of Day 2, see here.

For a recap of Day 1, see here.

Sarah Martin is writer, development and communications, at CEP.

2019 CEP Conference, CEP conference
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